What Being a Mother Has Taught Me

Aside from the bigger boobs and the curly hair that I’ve always wanted, motherhood has taught me so so many things. First, it has taught me how to handle an inordinate amount of pain in areas that previously brought me to a happy place. Pain that no one else seems to remember to mention to you when you tell them that you are ready to have a baby.

It has taught me that hide and seek can be tons of fun especially when you realize that you can hide for a good amount of time and get a sick pleasure from your child saying “Mommy, where are you?” over and over again and you don’t have to answer.

Motherhood has taught me that tough love is good. Permissiveness is bad. I think we are seeing the ramifications of helicopter parents and emotional parenting. Don’t raise wimpy kids. Do your children and the world a favor — teach your children the beauty of consequences. Their future partners and employers will greatly appreciate it.

It has taught me that as a teacher, I sure didn’t practice what I preached. And that’s okay. Because I’m human. I have told my kids straight up that I am sorry for all those years I acted like a #$@. Children need to hear and know that we are fallible. That we can say we are sorry and own it — and then move on from there not holding onto the past and learning our lessons from our misdeeds. Parenting is trial and error — find forgiveness for yourself during the process.

I have learned that if your children see enough drunkenness and hear enough swearing, they will permanently be turned off from those activities. It is what is called aversion therapy in psychology. Studies show it works for many things.

Motherhood has taught me the need for self imposed mommy time outs. That doesn’t need to be elaborated on much more than that. But it is a tool that you can count on to keep your sanity in check.

It has taught me that the power of open and honest communication without judgement is essential. It is a practice that will serve everyone in a family well. But also knowing how to talk with your children and not at them. All of this helps children to feel safe, secure, heard and helps to develop trustworthiness. Communication is a developed skill and takes practice and give and take. It is something that will be with us our entire lives and is necessary in every relationship that we have. Teach your children well in this area and model good and kind communication.

And a final note. Humor and playfulness go a long way in teaching children to not be so serious in life. That there should always be a childlike quality even in adulthood. We should dance, laugh and be silly with them so they can find the lightness in life as they grow older. Life is meant to be fun and joyful.

When I look back on my past collective 28 years as a mother, I have realized that I never took time for me. I was busy working, and taking care of children that a neglected me. I was so busy with what had to get done, I never realized that some of those things could be pushed aside and were actually not that important. My older self would have told my younger self to get out for just a quiet cup of coffee, relax with the running around on week-ends and to get rid of that “to do” list. I would tell myself to find a hobby outside of my duties as a mother and to reconnect to other adults socially. It wasn’t until I got divorced and was able to have that time away from mothering that I rediscovered and found me again. Find a part of you in every day, otherwise you will be smothered with the disapperance of you.

Motherhood has brought me to my knees in tears, taught me humility, patience, and pain and joy in my heart like I have never felt before.

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